LG화학 인도공장 가스유출사고 현장의 목소리를 전한다 (5월15일 1차 온라인 국제 기자회견 )
코로나19로 인도 전역이 봉쇄되어 5월7일 새벽에 발생해 많은 사상자를 발생시킨 LG화학의 인도공장(LG폴리머스인디아) 가스유출사건에 대한 언론의 현지 취재가 안되고 있습니다. 이로 인해 한국에서는 인도 현지의 목소리는 제대로 전달되지 않고 기업측의 일방적인 뉴스만 전달되는 형편입니다.
이에 환경보건시민센터가 참여하고 있는 아시아직업환경피해자네트워크(ANROEV)는 5월8일과 11일 성명서를 발표했고 아래와 같이 5월15일금요일 오후1시에 90분간 인도 현지의 목소리를 한국/인도/국제언론에 직접 전하는 1차 온라인 국제기자회견을 가졌습니다. 한글 통역 없이 영어로만 진행되었습니다.
참석자들의 발표내용을 아래에 첨부합니다.
(문의, 010-4719-7181 환경보건시민센터 이성진 정책실장)
Meet the groups fighting for accountability from LG post-Vizag Gas Leak
An Online Meeting with the Press
15th May 2020 / 0930 India time, 1300 Korea time
You are invited to meet various groups from India and Korea who are fighting for accountability for the Visakhapatnam gas leak (Vizag gas leak), that occurred last 07 May 2020 in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, India.
Voices of victims, local doctors, lawyers, and Indian occupational and environmental activists, along with doctors and occupational and environmental activists from Korea will be present during the online meeting with the press. Get access to various perspectives on the Vizag Gas Leak and learn how they plan to move forward.
RSVP (Ram via WhatsApp +977 980-3047621/ Jagdish via WhatsApp +91 94264 86855)
Topic: Vizag Gas Leak Incident Online Press Conference
Time: May 15, 2020 09:30 AM Mumbai, Kolkata, New Delhi
Join Zoom Meeting
Press Conference Program
Introduction of the objective of the press conference; introduction of participants (Ram) [5 minutes]
- Victim testimonials (Ranga Rao Garu ) (1-2 voices) [5 minutes each]
- Questions for victims:
o What were you doing when the gas leak occurred?
o What did you feel?
o What did you do when you smelled the gas?
o How are you feeling now?
1) Indian local doctor (Raghunadharao Digumarti MD, DM, FRCP) [5 minutes]
a. How many are in hospital?
b. What are the acute and long-term effects of the gas leak
2) Lawyer Ritwick Dutta [5 minutes]
a. what are the legal remedies the victims can do?
3) Bhopal voice (Rachna Dingra) [5 minutes]
4) OEHNI Coordinator (Jagdish) [5 minutes]
- What are the demands of civil society?
5) Korean doctor – (Domyung Paek MD, MSC, SCD) [5 minutes]
a. Cite Hunwa case, the need for bio-monitoring
Questions and Answers Session (Ram opens the floor for Q&A with media)
Panel of Speaker Details for PRESS CONFERENCE on LG polymer Gas Leak,
Online Press Conference,
FRIDAY, 9:30 AM Indian time / 1:00 PM Korea time for 90minutes
• Organized by ANROEV(Asian Network for the Right of Occupational and Environmental Victims)
• Moderator; Ram Charitra Sah (ANROEV coordinatior, Nepal)
1. Local resident, a victim of styrene gas exposed
Mr. Nageswara Rao (나게스와라 라오) from Vizag(바이작, 사고지역 약칭)
" I live a 3.5km away from LG Polymer Factory. By 1:15 am the industry people noticed the leakage. By 2am they officially declared the emergency. There was no alarm sign whatsoever. By 4am they started evacuation. People were asleep. Kids were out chatting using phones, playing video games. When they noticed the gas, they run. Even police healthy people fell to the ground. People rush to hospital. By bikes, any transport they rush to safe places.
Temperature according to LG was 150 degrees, supposed to be only 20 degrees. Up to 5 kilometers the gas went, people experience burning sensation of eyes, fell sick. Affected severely people were 1-3kms. Most people evacuated, those near the plant. There was another leakage the day after around 8pm, depending on the wind direction. The gas leak has not been controlled, thats why there was another evacuation. Police evacuated people, some harshly. 3.5 lak people were on the streeets. Because of COVID19, people were told not to go out of the province.
Throughout the night people were awake. There were rumors of explosion of plant. People are worried and dont know what will happen next."
2. Medical Doctor
Dr. D. Raghunadha Rao Digumarti
Founder Director Homi Bhabha Cancer Hospital and Research Centre Visakhapatnam
Mobile: +91 9246571537
4. Ms Rachna Dhingra (Linkage with Bhopal )
Sambhavna Trust, Bhopal
Mob: +91 9826167369
5. Prof. Domyung PAEK(백도명), South Korea.
Professor, Seoul National University, School of public health
MD. occupational and environmental medicine
6. ANROEV / OHINI
Mr. Jagdish Patel
Peoples Training And Research Centre
Ph: +91- 0265- 2345576 (R)
Contact: Ram Charitra Sah, +977-9803047621
Affected community members and public interest advocates call on LG Chemical to take full responsibility for the Vizag tragedy
(Vizag, India): Community members affected by the poisonous Vizag gas leak and public interest advocates from India and South Korea called on LG Chemicals, the South Korean parent company of LG Polymers, to take full responsibility for the poisonous styrene gas leak early in the morning on 7 May that killed 12 and sickened hundreds of community members. The tragedy occurred in Vizag, Visakhapatnam in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. LG Polymers has been operating illegally and a government forensic laboratory has concluded that the styrene leak occurred due to company error. On 8 May, the National Green Tribunal directed LG Polymers to deposit an interim fine of ₹50 crore (~US$6.6 million) and formed a committee to investigate the tragedy.
Community members, local doctors, and Indian occupational and environmental safety activists affiliated with the ANROEV network discussed the challenges faced by the community after the gas leak. They described how the people from communities surrounding the LG Polymer plant are experiencing a combination of fear and anger, and demanding support for all those affected by the poisonous gas leak.
They also noted concerns about repeating injustices that occurred after the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy in 1984 when thousands were killed and more than 500,000 people were exposed to poisonous methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas, but Union Carbide and Dow Chemical were never fully held accountable. The UN Special Rapporteur for Toxics, Baskut Tuncak, noted the parallels between the Vizag LG tragedy and the Bhopal disaster and urged Indian and South Korea authorities and implicated businesses, “to avoid the same mistakes and abuse of judicial procedures that have denied justice to the victims of the Bhopal disaster, who are still suffering to this day.”
Community members and public interest advocates called on LG and relevant government agencies to take the following actions:
• Immediately provide relief and support to victim families and those injured
• Long-term health support for all the victims and exposed population
• Thorough and impartial investigation on the reason for the gas leak
• Include civil society and victims representatives to take part in the investigation and any settlement with the company
• Hold LG Chemicals and those responsible for the gas leak fully accountable
• Establish a bio-monitoring system for 3 years to provide health surveillance for all those affected
• Due diligence before re-opening workplaces under COVID-19 lockdowns
Strengthen regulatory and workplace safety systems
LG Chemicals has a history of environmental and health and safety violations in South Korea:
2019: The Ministry of Environment caught LG Chemical altering and even fabricating pollution release data.
2018: LG Chemical polycarbonate factory leaked phosgene gas, injuring five workers
2015: LG Chemical fined 6 million won for leaking hydrogen chloride and violating the Industrial Safety and Health Act
2013: LG Chemical executives sent to prison over the 2012 explosion at their Cheongju OLED manufacturing plant. The judge noted that the company pursued profits over safety.
2013: In a government review of occupational accidents, LG Chemical’s Cheongju Plant was noted as a workplace with many deaths, including a 2012 explosion that killed eight workers.
LG Polymers uses styrene to make polystyrene plastic components for LG appliances sold in India. Styrene is a probable human carcinogen, crosses the placenta and has a variety of harmful effects. Styrene is explosive and must be stored at low temperatures. However, LG failed to maintain the storage temperature below 20C during a COVID-19 lockdown period, leading to the harmful release.
Reporters and editors please contact Ram Charitra Sah at the ANROEV Secretariat firstname.lastname@example.org. Video footage and photos are available.